W e Formula 1 teams have a difficult task to solve given: A new 5.125-kilometer circuit with 16 curves that a Formula 1 car has never driven through. Plus an asphalt, the grip level of which will change throughout the weekend. In the end there is only one question: How fast are the cars in qualifying on Saturday?
Lap time forecast as a guessing game
We asked all teams about their own personal best. Concerned about falling short of their own forecast, some teams preferred to calculate the pole position. After qualifying we will compare all times with the values actually achieved. Some teams found it very difficult to give us a forecast. 'It's more of a guessing game, like a shot at a moving target,' a team representative apologized beforehand.
Even within the teams there is not always agreement. Rubens Barrichello has already implemented the new route in India in his own computer. After the first laps in the living room at home, the forecast for his own personal best time is: 1: 26.3 minutes. The official Williams simulator only spits out a time of 1: 27.7 minutes - for pole position
Undercut Ferrari's time in training
Ferrari was particularly cautious over time. 'We drove 1: 35.5 minutes in the simulator,' said press spokesman Luca Colajanni. But most of the teams clearly undercut this time in the first training session. Force India, however, speaks of a 1: 24.5 min. For the ideal lap on the Buddh International Circuit. There is therefore more than ten seconds between the fastest and slowest times. That shows that the task is pretty tricky.
Track architect Hermann Tilke also gave us his forecast for pole position. The computer in the engineering office spits out 1: 27.4 minutes. Tire supplier Pirelli also simulated the route on the computer. The rubber experts are counting on a qualifying best time of 1: 25.7 minutes. Who is right in the end? Only after qualifying are we all smarter.